Years ago, the English agnostic Thomas Huxley was in Dublin, Ireland, for a speaking engagement. When it was over, he left his hotel in a hurry to catch a train. He jumped into one of the city’s famous horse-drawn taxis and, thinking the doorman at the hotel had told the driver where he was going, shouted to the driver to drive fast. The taxi immediately took off at a breakneck pace, but it didn’t get very far before Huxley realized it was going in the wrong direction. “Do you know where you’re going?” he shouted to the driver. “No, your honor,” the driver answered, “but I’m driving fast.”
Have you ever felt that the above story is an apt description of not only your own life but the lives of most people we know? Life passes us by so quickly that we can often find ourselves, if we don’t watch it, heading in the wrong direction. Even when we find ourselves moving at a breakneck pace, we can quickly get the mistaken notion that our speed proves that we are heading in the right direction. Franklin Delano Roosevelt described it this way in his first inaugural address to the country: “We don’t know where we are going, but we are on our way.”
Living In The ‘Land Of Nod
The irony of it all is simply this. Not knowing exactly where you are going but being content with getting there faster than anyone else doesn’t make it right; it just makes you fast. Most of civilization is based on this misunderstood premise, especially when we understand that society was built and maintained by builders whose lineage comes from Cain. The Son of Adam and Eve. God said in Genesis 4:12, “A fugitive and a vagabond you shall be on the earth.” NKJ It is a paradox that someone cursed with the mantra of being a ‘restless wanderer’ would be the first to build a city that would house humanity. Cain did this after being banished to the land of Nod, which ironically means ‘wandering.’ God condemned Cain to the existence of being a restless wanderer. Making any attempt that he may have had at settling down futile. He was incapable of finding rest, and in the process, built cities inhabited by people who were filled with that same restless wandering spirit that Cain possessed.
Cain was a murderer, a wanderer, and a vagabond, and as such, he could find no rest. Therefore, he was condemned to a life of endless searching for God’s presence, the very thing that would bring meaning and understanding to his life. Even though at first he wanted nothing to do with God and in whom he did not believe. He found that his very condition kept him from ever finding God. Whatever he did, he could not succeed, and that is the hopelessness that those choosing to live apart from God find themselves. so that ’Seeing they may see and not perceive, and hearing they may hear and not understand; lest they should turn, and their sins be forgiven them.” Mark 4:12 NKJ
It sounds like the condition that our world continually finds itself in. They are ever seeing but never perceiving, hearing but never understanding. Believing that all paths lead to God, especially if it is on ‘their terms? There’s only one path to God. As Jesus stated in John 14:6, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” NKJ Their restless denial leads them to believe the craziest of things. We read further in Genesis that Cain’s city had a culture that was full of hard, arrogant self-seekers.
The loneliest people I know are in the city. The saddest stories I know concern city dwellers. Many people do not want to go into the city to evangelize because of this very fact.
We call places like Las Vegas, New Orleans, and New York ‘godless cities or Sin Cities.’ The “godless city” problem is not the “city” itself but its godless characteristics. Our task is not to abandon earthly kingdoms but to build God’s kingdom amid the godless ones and, in so doing, look forward “for he waited for the city which has foundations, whose builder and maker is God.” Heb. 11:10 NKJ
You have seen these wanderers sleeping on the streets, pacing back and forth at bus stops, pushing their shopping carts up and down the streets, and even sitting beside you in the pews. People who don’t know who they are, searching each day restlessly, pacing, trying to find something that always seems to elude them. The wealthiest man of his day, John Paul Getty, was once asked how much money he needed before he had enough. To which he replied, “Just a little more.” Now isn’t that just like the human condition, always hoping that the next job or the new car or the next relationship will be the one that brings them the contentment that they so earnestly desire? When what they need is God in their lives. The God of meaning, understanding, and intimacy.
Augustine wrote that the history of the human race is the history of two groups of people, each having a distinct origin, development, characteristic, and destiny. He said, “These two cities are formed by two loves: the earthly by the love of self, even to the contempt of God; the heavenly by the love of God, even to the contempt of self.”
Looking For Kingdom Builders!
The same DNA in Cain is in those who are lovers of self to the exclusion of Christ. One must have a transfusion of the blood of Christ through repentance and forgiveness, becoming ‘born again’ and enabling a person to stop the restlessness that drives them always to be searching but never finding. God is looking for Kingdom builders, those who understand the times and know what to do. Culture is changed, not so much by legislating laws or the power of do’s and don’ts, but by the transforming power that comes through a changed heart which only a loving Father can provide.
Four Characteristics That Mark the Societies We Live In.
1. Loss of our Roots: The world wants to come home, but it cannot as long as it desires to return on its own terms. Cain had no change of heart, softening of temper, or love of family.
2. Closeness without Community: Surrounded by millions of people, our culture screams loneliness. Perhaps like Cain, we are all tempted to be led to wander by our own sense of guilt, hardness of heart, and fear of retribution.
3. Worship of Outward Beauty: Be careful to not be enticed by a culture that is committed to physical pleasure, beauty, and charm. It is truly the sin that is crouching at your door that desires to master you
4. Pride in Passion: The last characteristic of Cain’s civilization is pride, culminating in an arrogant defense of murder. Cain complained that his punishment was more than he could bear yet he refused to repent for killing his brother.
The only answer is Jesus. John 3:35-36 NKJ says this, “The Father loves the Son and has given all things into His hands. He who believes in the Son has everlasting life, and he who does not believe the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him.” The cry within the heart of humanity is to come home to the Father, otherwise, they will be ‘restless wanderers’ for the rest of their lives. Jesus came to eradicate the wandering orphan spirit forever. He is the way, the truth, and the life, and the only way to the Father is through Him.